Chemistry or Physical Science Lab Activities
Great lab experiences are the key to a successful chemistry or physical science course. Spice up your class by having your students perform these 15 "Must-Do" chemistry and/or physical science labs. These labs cover density, conservation of mass, stoichiometry, percent composition, periodic trends, types of chemical reactions, flame tests, and so much more.
Graphing the trends / properties of the periodic table is a great way to help your students visualize and understand the trends between the elements on the periodic table. What trend is seen in atomic radius for the elements in a period or in a group? Why does this happen? Graphing these trends provides a hands-on and visual way to grasp the periodic properties.
Students will complete several “mini-experiments,” each of which is an example of one of the four basic types of chemical reactions: Synthesis, Decomposition, Single displacement, and Double displacement. Students will record their observations of each chemical reaction. Students will also be required to predict the products and write balanced chemical equations for each.
How is the atomic mass of an element determined when the element has several isotopes? In this lab students will carry out experiments and perform the necessary calculations to determine the atomic mass of the fictitious element “vegium.” As you would expect, each vegium isotope has a different mass. From a sample of vegium atoms students will determine the relative abundance of each isotope and the mass of each vegium isotope.
Students will use a known mass of sodium hydrogen carbonate (NaHCO3) and react it with an excess amount of hydrochloric acid. From the amount of NaHCO3 used, and the balanced chemical equation, students can determine how much NaCl should be produced. In this lab students will be comparing the theoretical value of NaCl produced with the actual experimental mass of NaCl produced.
The purpose of this experiment is to determine the percent composition of carbon in a sample of sodium bicarbonate, NaHCO3. Reacting sodium bicarbonate with sulfuric acid will release carbon in the form of carbon dioxide. The mass of carbon dioxide that is released can be used to determine the percent composition of carbon in the sodium bicarbonate.
In this experiment students will use a Styrofoam cup as a calorimeter. Ice will be placed directly into a measured amount of water. The heat required to melt the ice will be supplied by the water. By measuring the temperature change of the water, students can calculate the quantity of heat exchanged between the water and the ice. Using these experimental data, students will calculate the heat of fusion of ice.
The "activity series of the elements" is a list of elements in order of their reactivity. This list can be used to help determine when an element and a compound will react in a single replacement reaction. By observing reactions between single elements and compounds, scientists have been able to determine a list of elements in order of their reactivity.
Students often think of molecules as being two-dimensional since they most often see them drawn on paper. Using molecular model sets to build molecules is an excellent way to reinforce the three-dimensional nature of molecules. By building models, students also quickly realize that molecules can be polar or nonpolar based on their shape.